This week I learned that it really does take a village to raise a child, that this quote isn’t just a catch phrase that Hillary Clinton used as a book title to make money. There’s meaning and wisdom behind that quote and I’m amazed at how many people we rely on constantly to help us raise our daughter. I don’t know what we would do without them, I don’t know what people do who don’t have a network and I have an unbelievable amount of respect for those people who successfully raise children without much support. How do they do it? We need our family and friends all the time - I literally can’t remember a day when I didn’t call my mom, my husband’s mom, a cousin or a friend to talk about something related to our daughter, both good and bad, and usually multiple times a day. I’m so blessed, I have a very big village, with so many caring people. I’ve always known this, I guess that Bean’s entrance into the tantrum stage and a few other impending life changes have really brought out just how much we need that village. I thought we needed it during the infertility and adoption process, and with a newborn – but I think we need them now more than ever as our little girl is growing up. This last week was a tough one, full of temper tantrums and a freak storm that sent an electrical pole down within inches of my car with Bean in it. I was rattled, tired, cranky, upset, and frustrated all week and so was Bean. I think I talked to my mom and my husband’s mom a dozen times, and we visited both families. I talked to my sister, my husband’s sister, a few of my 13 cousins, my friends from school, my friends formed through the adoption process. We’ve also worked closely with our daycare on dealing with Bean’s newly formed toddler tantrum stage. The other day we spent an entire hour just talking with them about her – telling stories, sharing ideas on how to deal with her tantrums. I feel so blessed that they care so much about her. What would we do without them? They are a big part of our “village.”
I don’t think it matters if both parents are working full-time or not- everyone needs tons of help from so many different people in raising kids. In our case we are both working full-time, so we need our village a lot physically right now to help with pick-ups and drop-offs and to give us a break after long weeks. But we also need them emotionally to save us from the ups and downs and the irregularity that comes with children. That’s one thing I wasn’t prepared for – you can never fully “prepare” for a day because a child, especially a toddler, may have an off day and everything you prepared doesn’t happen. The best laid plans may need to be scrapped in an instant if Bean is having a bad day – that’s hard for a planner like me to deal with, harder than I thought. That would happen even if I was at home all the time, probably more, and I know I’d be on the phone with mom and dad for those situations. Either way, working or not, the amount of people involved to raise one child is way more than I thought it would be. It shouldn’t be surprising, these are human beings we’re talking about here, and the world is a tougher place than it ever was. It really, really does take a village.